IEM students have a project cultivating wild berries

The administration of the Tomsk Region has tentatively approved the provision of more than 3,000 hectares of agricultural land under the first phase of a business project to create industrial plantations of wild berries. The design of pilot plantations will begin in 2019.

The project Industrial Cultivation of Forest Berries on the Territory of Tomsk Region (Yagoda) has been developed by students and teachers of the TSU Institute of Economics and Management. It involves creating the first large-scale industrial business in the Russian Federation for industrial production of cloudberries, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, honeysuckle, and other wild berries.

Plots suitable for the project are located within the boundaries of the Tomsk Region. Plantations will be serviced by robotic complexes. The project is approximately five billion rubles and will create up to 2,000 jobs. The implementation period of the first stage is 10 years.

– A constructive meeting in the administration was held to determine the first hectares reserved for the Yagoda project. Also, the administration pre-approved plots with a total area of 3,211 hectares and defined specific dates and stages of implementation. Designing experimental plantations will begin in 2019, and in 2020 we will start creating nursery lines and the mother plantation, - said Alexander Belyaev, the project initiator.

The plots for plantations were selected by specialists. They are more than 18,000 hectares of agricultural land that are abandoned areas overgrown with vegetation, overgrown arable land, forested land, and land requiring land reclamation and cultural and technical measures. It is also forest land that is unpromising for traditional forestry.

- It turns out that nature itself has created all the conditions for us to grow berries, but we use this opportunity to a minimum,- says Dmitry Khloptsov, head of the Department of Economics at the IEM.

The planting of seedlings will begin after the arrangement of the land. They will be picked up under the supervision of specialists from specialized research institutes. Special combines will help plant them and then reap a harvest.

- The experience of other countries says that modern robotic combines do an excellent job with these tasks. Hand picking is the relic of the past. But there is no sense in the combine if we have only 1,000 hectares. Therefore, we are planning a project on a large area, - says Dmitry Khloptsov.

Dried (sublimated) and frozen Tomsk wild berries can become a branded product of the region.